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How Personal Vision Will Help You Do The Work

If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today? You wait to answer the question. Why: because you are hoping the response is different from yesterday and the days before. Regrettably, you close your eyes, and your stomach sours, “No.” The answer has […]

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If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today? You wait to answer the question. Why: because you are hoping the response is different from yesterday and the days before. Regrettably, you close your eyes, and your stomach sours, “No.” The answer has been “No” for too many weeks in a row. 

You begin to panic as the ancient questions resurface: 

  • What are my life’s aspirations?
  • What do I value?
  • What are my talents?  
  • At the end of my life, what do I want to have accomplished?

Author Peter M. Senge notes, “We say that’s a very interesting idea, when we have no intention of taking the idea seriously.” Senge continues, “Personal mastery is the discipline of continually clarifying and deepening our personal vision, of focusing our energies, of developing patience, and of seeing reality objectively.”

You do have a personal vision: To do the work that inspires others so they can do the work that inspires them. It’s been a personal strategy for the past 29 years, but are you treating your vision like a purpose or an interesting idea? My guess from your panic attack is the latter.

It is time to shift your mindset: to shed your self-limiting beliefs and draw energy from self-sustaining growth. How: not by pushing your growth, but removing the barriers limiting your growth. One tool that can help on your journey is systems thinking.

Senge explains, “Systems thinking is a discipline for seeing wholes. It is a framework for seeing interrelationships rather than things, for seeing patterns of change rather than static snapshots.” He continues, “Vision without systems thinking ends up painting lovely pictures of the future with no deep understanding of the forces that must be mastered to move from here to there.”

You have spent nearly three decades of painting lovely pictures. It is time you get a deep understanding of the forces that must be mastered to move forward. You must begin by revisiting those ancient questions:

  • What are my life’s aspirations?
  • What do I value?
  • What are my talents?  
  • At the end of my life, what do I want to have accomplished?

Yes, the questions terrify you. They look upon you with large and angry eyes chanting, “You never went after that dream. You never acted on those ideas. You never used them talents. You never used those gifts. We came to you, and only you could have given us life. And now we must die with you.* 

The questions were never meant to paralyze you. The questions are an evolution into the principles that will anchor your vision. It is essential that you:

  • Take the time to respond thoughtfully
  • Digest the questions over several weeks
  • Document what comes to you
  • Review and update frequently

Over time, you will identify patterns in your responses. Pay attention to trends, as they are expressions of your vision. 

If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today? Your immediate response is, “Yes.” Why: because you have done the work that inspires others to do the work that inspires them.

*Quote by Les Brown.

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